RHINO SAFARI CAMP - MATUSADONA NATIONAL PARK - LAKE KARIBA
Rhino Safari Camp is an intimate, traditional bush camp nestled within dense jesse bushveld along the shoreline of Lake Kariba at the north-western end of the Matusadona National Park. The camp is small and friendly with just 7 chalets and is owner operated with personalised hosting and excellent guiding.
The camp is unfenced, and wildlife moves freely between the chalets along well used game trails - be prepared for a truly wild experience. Your completely safe, elevated, platform chalet makes the perfect “hide” from which to enjoy close up, eye-level encounters with passing elephants and birdlife.
From the soft golden glow of the early morning when the fish eagle calls the sun over the horizon, to the tranquil crimson of sunset, with drinks by the fire and dinner beneath the stars, Rhino Safari Camp offers a totally natural safari experience in an unspoilt wilderness.
The lodge is located on the shoreline of Lake Kariba in the north western Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe. Access is by boat either from Kariba (roughly one and a half hours) or from the nearby Tashinga or Rhokari airstrips (roughly forty minutes). Boat transfers are by speed boat.
There are just 7 unique and eco-friendly huts on stilts set out along the shoreline which are built of wood and reeds with thatched roofs. Being above ground opens up the view and allows air to circulate through the spacious living area. The huts are open fronted with reed mats that roll down and side walls do not reach the ceilings allowing movement of the air in the warmer months.
The spacious huts have twin beds with jumbo-sized walk-in mosquito nets. A comfortable seating area at the front comprises a couch and coffee table, and a dressing table and stool. The wardrobe and towel rack are situated at the back of the room so you can enjoy the views of the lake and the wildlife without obstacles. Each hut has an ensuite with open air shower, flush toilet and hand basin beneath the eaves situated at the back of each hut at a slightly lower level.
At the entrance to the camp is the main boma, the central area where we meet, eat and relax. This spacious platform is completely open at the sides allowing the breeze from the lake to cool the interior. We use both upstairs and downstairs sections for dining and relaxation.
Downstairs is a discreet bar and buffet area with a dining area and camp seating area. Upstairs is a comfortable living area and alternative dining area with magnificent views of the lake and the animals as they wander along the shoreline. There is a small selection of reference books and reading material and a selection of traditional games to use in camp.
Tea, coffee and other beverages are available throughout the day in the boma.
ACTIVITIES AND WILDLIFE
The Matusadona National Park covers an area of 1,407 skm and its boundaries are natural: the Ume River to the west, the Sanyati River to the east, Lake Kariba to the north and the Matusdona Mountain range to the South. Loosely translated Matuzwi-ah-dona means falling dung – evidence of its abundant wild animal population.
The damming of the Zambezi River to form Lake Kariba was completed in the late 1950’s and on completion of the dam the waters rose far faster than initially anticipated and the legendary Operation Noah saw a small but dedicated team of wildlife specialists rescue over 5,000 different animals trapped by the advancing lake waters.
In 1963 the Matusadona area became a game reserve and in 1975 it was gazetted as a National Park which it has remained until today. This is the highest conservation status that can be given to an area under Zimbabwean legislation.
The remote nature of the park, its impressive natural boundaries and plentiful year-round water supply have made the Matusadona National Park an ideal conservation zone. As well as buffalo, lion, leopard and elephant populations are also healthy in the area.
The lake levels vary dramatically and during the dry season a dense growth of torpedo grass (panicum repens) is exposed. This forms an important source of food for the buffalo herds, whose size is directly related to the amount of grazing available. The success of the buffalo herds also directly influences the lion populations.
Game Drives - take place in open 4 x 4 Land Rover safari vehicles which provide unobstructed visibility for bird, scenic and wildlife photography. The Matusadonha National Park is home to four of the big five - lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo – and well off the beaten track.
Guided Bush Walks - the best way to experience the bush up close and personal going places you cannot get to in a game drive vehicle. You will find your senses heightened as you explore nearby riverine areas on foot, walk through Mopane Forests and skirt the thick belts of Jesse Bush. Guided walks could be tracking nocturnal visitors with the hopes of catching a glimpse of lion or leopard, elephant or buffalo on foot.
Photography - whether it’s landscape or wildlife photography that is your passion you will find plenty of subject matter - swimming elephants, lazing lions, a myriad of birds and smaller creatures from mongoose to dung beetles, crocodiles and hippo. Think vast open skies, drowned forests casting striking reflections on the water as the sun sets.
Birding - with the diverse habitats of the shoreline fringing the lake, the flood plains and forests, thick jesse and riverine areas there is a diversity of environments to support a great mix of birds. From water, shoreline and land birds to raptors and eagles, with many migrant species of bird species we can boast of over 350 recorded species in the area.
Boat Cruises - you may meet a crocodile or a hippo coming up from underwater with a splash, watch elephants drinking and playing in the lake waters, Kudu graciously browsing... or just relax and enjoy the tranquillity as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Fishing - from August to April the waters are warm and the legendary tiger fish challenges visiting fishermen. The Kariba Invitational Tiger Fishing Tournament takes place every year in October. Various species of tilapia are found in the waters close to camp as well as Bottlenose and Cornish Jack. The camp keeps a simple stock of rods and tackle or bring your own. The cooler winter months from May to July are not the best for serious fishermen.
RHINO SAFARI CAMP IS OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND
THE CAMP WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AGED 16 YEARS AND OLDER